PTI Photo by Vijay Verma
PTI Photo by Vijay Verma

At a time when the search operation of the Sirsa based Dera Sacha Sauda is taking place, the Dera Sacha Sauda’s mouthpiece ‘Sach Kahoon’ admitted that human remains can be found inside the ashram as many had been buried inside. The admission came hours before authorities and security agencies launched a search and sanitisation operation inside the sprawling Dera Sacha Sauda headquarters campus near Sirsa town in Haryana.

Meanwhile, defending the action of the Dera management in burying the human remains, Dera newspaper said, that the burying of human remains was encouraged by Ram Rahim Singh. He had asked his followers to donate the remains of their deceased family members to the sect for burials and prevent from being immersed in rivers and cause pollution. The newspaper also claimed that the human remains were buried within the campus and trees were planted on these.

Ram Rahim’s Dera is spread over two campuses, 600 acres and over 100 acres, about 8 km from Sirsa town and 260 km from Chandigarh. Some people who were earlier associated with the Dera sect and left later have alleged that the Dera chief got killed any of those who opposed his activities and buried them across a 70-acre campus.

Security agencies and district authorities began search operations at the Dera headquarters on Friday amid tight security and curfew in the area. The search, which is being video-graphed, is being conducted under the supervision of court commissioner AKS Pawar appointed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Senior district administration and police officers, along with para-military forces and Haryana Police, were involved in the operation around the sprawling 700-acre campus. Duty magistrates have been appointed for various zones of the Dera. Officials from police, revenue, health, education, tourism and other departments have also participated. Bomb disposal squads, commandos, dog squads and locksmiths were deployed.

All roads leading to the headquarters from Sirsa and nearby places were sealed. Ram Rahim was convicted on two counts of rape of disciples in 1999 by a CBI special court in Panchkula on August 25. He was later sentenced to 20 years of rigorous imprisonment and is currently lodged in the District Jail at Sunaria near Rohtak.

His conviction led to violence in Panchkula and Sirsa in Haryana, leaving 38 people dead and 264 injured. Isolated incidents of violence were also reported from Delhi and several other places in Punjab.

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